City of Bakersfield Home Development Services Planning Division

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What is a General Plan?
A general plan is a set of policies and programs that form a blueprint for physical development throughout the community. It is a long-term document consisting of written text and diagrams that expresses how a community should develop, and is a key tool for influencing the quality of life. The plan is a basis for land use decision-making used by policymakers such as the Planning Commission and the City Council. All cities and counties in California are required by law to have general plans. Each city and county in California must prepare a comprehensive, long term general plan to guide its future. The General Plan is a Community’s blueprint for future development.

What are State Mandated & Optional Elements?
The elements of a general plan make up the framework for decision-making regarding growth and development in a city. State law requires that a general plan contain seven mandated elements: Land Use, Circulation, Housing, Conservation, Parks and Open Space, Noise and Safety. In an effort to protect and build on the City of Bakersfield‘s existing assets, two additional elements are anticipated: Public Services and Facilities Element and Kern River Plan Element.

Why is a General Plan required?
State law mandates that each city and county in California adopt "a comprehensive, long-term general plan." The purpose is to address important community issues such as new growth, housing needs, and environmental protection. Furthermore, the general plan is used to project future demand for services such as sewer, water, roadways, electric, parks, and emergency services.



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